Unified User Experience Development
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Unified User Experience Development

  • Xenia Liashko
  • 2019-12-26 18:03:56

Unified User Experience has been a hot topic for years, but it's still difficult to find a creative team that can really do it. No, it's not an attempt to understand the origins of the universe, or a higher calling to be "one with everything," but it can change the way you think about design forever.

If in recent years you haven't hidden under an aluminum foil hat, you probably know that UX and UI are not the same because "UX is more ergonomic" or such nonsense.

But what about the uniform part? I usually have very little patience with hipster acronyms and rivets, but it turns out to be more than false specifications and Chai Latte.

Imagine you are standing in front of two different cafes. They both sell almost the same coffee for the same price. How do you choose? I bet you are a unicorn fan. You are not influenced by a specific thing, but by the general "feeling" that "is better". And you know what? This is the user experience. 

It's probably time to think about everything. Experience is more important to the user than the product, and from a design point of view, the software is placed almost in the same space as the cafes.

For the service industry, every user interaction with a brand is a point of contact. It doesn't matter where or how this interaction takes place: see the store, open the door, talk to someone at the cash register, whatever. The goal is to provide the target user with a sense of familiarity, ease, and convenience.

Now imagine you are scaling this experience. Let's say you want to take your cafe to a mobile store. How can you ensure that users have the same sense of comfort and familiarity as on the main road? This is Unified UX.

Wider context

Unified UX is much more than just DLS or a style guide. In fact, you should think better about tools such as Atlassian and Sketch ... also about tools that will help you achieve the broader goal of the individual.

It is more than responsive design, as well as a digital ecosystem. If you are still thinking about "mobile", "tablet" and "desktop" configurations, then you should pay attention to the words of the design guru Cameron Moll, who urges us to recognize this for today's users: the best user interface is to implement this.

Galaxy Fold, for example, a cell phone, tablet, phablet or a regular old monster? What about Echo, Dot, and Alexa without a screen? Or maybe Apple Watch? The concept of "television" became quite ordinary. Do we mean the content or device on which they are displayed? Is "mobile" a noun, verb or adjective? What is the difference between a native application and a mobile browser?

The point is, from a UX unified perspective, it doesn't matter. The task of the UX team is to create this "brand brand" on all platforms and in all aspects of the project.

Look at the Southwest Airlines virtual booking office from - wait for it - 1998, laugh at what you want but remember that most people were completely new on the internet at the time. Viewing a familiar scene has given users a sense of trust that is (still) key to the Southwest brand.

What does Unified UX offer?

The task of the UX team is to create this "brand brand" on all platforms and in all aspects of the project. It starts with a deep awareness of the needs, expectations and current user experiences. Watch how people use your things. Then talk to them about how he felt. You will definitely learn something. If this is a new project, focus the groups and do more. Join and co-create if you can.

Then develop a framework for design principles. The most important concerns of the user group should be reflected in every aspect of the brand's experience.

Basically, it is important to harmonize two key concepts:

  • Form and function - yes, you need both!
  • Data symmetry - data should follow users.

Here are some questions to consider:

Available Media

How do your users want to interact with the brand?

  • Android / iOS application;
  • Interface language;
  • Live chat;
  • Interface language;
  • SMS integration (very popular in the USA);
  • Telephone / VOIP;
  • Printing media;
  • Face to face.

The website does not work for everyone!

Look and Feel

Includes your framework:

  • color;
  • art direction;
  • symbols;
  • shape;
  • imagery;
  • story?

Do your decisions work everywhere? How to reconcile UX unity and compatibility? How do you combine native operating system elements with brand-specific elements?

Layout Design

Guide users to the content they want. Their needs change in the following areas:

  • platform;
  • device;
  • user journey;
  • time?

How to reconcile usability and UX uniformity on small screens?

In-app Interactions 

Are some functions specific to the device?

  • Location services;
  • Camera;
  • Compass;
  • Accelerometer.

If so, do users want it? How are interactive behaviors transmitted?

Responsive Behaviour

Think about the device continuum - it's usually best to think in terms of:

  • small;
  • smallish;
  • biggish;
  • big.

No specific devices.

Tone

Important for:

  • Written copy;
  • Voice Interface;
  • Phone Help;
  • Face to Face;
  • Video;
  • Text or Automated Chat.

Does the sound have to change in some situations:

  • errors;
  • CtA;
  • Feedback/Complaints;
  • some user groups?

Do you use dated words such as "clicking" when "writing" would be a better option?

Continuation

If the user interacts on one device and sends them to another, does the data follow him? If your basket items, elapsed time, favorites, etc. are consistent across all user interfaces, do it right!

Single sign-on is one of those functions that will make users laugh. Are your protocols current in this sense? If you have a native application, you may need LDAP or something similar. Don't try to use cookies! Is the backend architecture capable of handling the load?

Programming the Environment

As you probably already saw, you can't run Unified UX yourself. The better your resource repository is organized, the easier it will be to involve new team members and maintain consistency.

  • Toolsets;
  • Documentation;
  • Encoding conventions and file names;
  • Standard elements repository.

Integrations and Upgrades

How do you update old material and add new elements as your design evolves?

Unified UX: Fine Examples

Yes, Unified UX can be a fairly large and expensive undertaking, and even the giants still don't understand it. That said, here are some nice little events from several unexpected places.

Spotify

There are no surprises here in terms of the size of the company, and their UX is (well) quite smart, no matter where you find them. But what really caught my attention was their commitment to backend and support for external developers.

Thanks to this, Spotify users have great opportunities to create a highly integrated, reliable and constantly developing an ecosystem that is always the same.

Mailchimp

They are characterized not only by excellent consistency on various devices but also by their famous Chirpa tone and nice mascot. Even cooler is the fact that the sound subtly changes when something goes wrong.

This is not surprising, because they have a really comprehensive style guide for new authors.

Linguee

Their iOS app is primarily an online translation application and my favorite. It provides not only dictionary-style definitions but also contextual translations, which really helps to avoid classic mistakes in Google translation. This is understandable at first glance on small and large screens ... and is free!

Good evidence that simplicity and functionality often convince.

Why bother about unified UX?!

In short, that's what your users want. Yes, creating a large unified experience is a big undertaking, especially if you are switching to an old project and dealing with old code, but the fact is that this is the future.

The range of available devices is growing rapidly, and users want to be as close as possible. At the same time, we become more sensitive to experiences and less tolerant of inconsistencies or persecution. Smaller companies need to find a way to provide the unified experience expected by customers or be swallowed up by giants.

As independent programmers, it is in our interest and the opportunity to find ways to unify UX.

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